Worthing Raiders assistant coach Ben Coulson felt his side sailed into the perfect storm when they lost 57-10 at Chinnor on Saturday.
Leaders Chinnor went into the game on the back of a 30-22 defeat to Bishop’s Stortford the previous week and a strong first half performance from Raiders saw them trail just 12-10 at half-time, with Chinnor also down to 14 men after a red card.
However, the leaders showed their strength in the second half and Coulson said: “The game was always going to be tough and as it turned out we sailed into the perfect storm. They were top of the league, had players coming back in to the squad, had a rocket from the coach for losing the week before and we had a few senior players out and a number making debuts.
“They also got a rocket at half-time as we placed them under so much pressure in the first half.
“Unfortunately we ran out of puff in the second half as we suffered from yellow cards conceded due to the pressure they exerted on us. The loss of a player then made our job even harder. In all honesty, the first half was above and beyond our expectations.
“Getting anything there was always going to be a monumental ask, so the first half performance was excellent.
“The second half showed exactly why they are sitting on top of the table, even with a man down they pressured across the field as we tired.
“They have former international, Premiership and Championship players and loanees from the Championship too and it showed in their game management in that second half.
"It was pleasing to see the endeavour shown as the game had obviously gone in the final ten minutes but many put their hands up to be counted.
"On a personal level, I was incredibly proud to see Tom Adams, a former Worthing High School and current Worthing College student, get his first Raiders appearance off the bench. He acquitted himself well as did many all of the debutants in what was obviously an incredibly tough game."
Raiders now host Redingensians Rams on Saturday, before a trip to Barnes the following week and Coulson said: "Moving forward, the last two games before Christmas are important for us, but no more so than any other.
"Redingensians is the next match so the most important of the season, as will Barnes be the week after that, in both we contest the five points on offer.
"On Saturday we want to give our supporters a great Christmas send off as it's the last game at home this side of the break. We see the next two weeks as a realistic opportunity to go into the break eight to ten points better off, that will leave us in a position to enter the new year with confidence.
"We are fairly confident that some of the walking wounded will be available to us which will obviously be a timely boost. But if they aren't then the squad has shown enough effort and attitude in the last one and half matches to lead us to believe we can get two positive results before Christmas."
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